The recent time change, turning the clocks back one hour has caused quite a bit of stress for our dogs. We have been trying to adjust all six of them to the shorter days already, with minimal sucess. Their supper time is at 5pm. When it started getting noticeably darker before 5, they all started watching me for movement towards the kitchen, or just hanging around me and pacing if I was making supper.
I can’t remember if they did this other years or not, or maybe I am noticing it more this time around. It may be because Finn, our 14 year old female is having an extremely difficult time.
Finn has always been overly (in my opinion) focused on what her people are doing, especially if it involves food. Finn has a heart condition and is on medication that makes her pant sometimes. So, when she is hungry and she thinks it is time to eat, she paces, pants and acts agitated. This is stressful to us humans and to the other dogs.
So what do we do?
1. I give a small snack before supper. This seems to help all the dogs hold on for another hour.
2. Because this usually occurs just as supper is being cooked for us humans, I have started having all the dogs lie down in the kitchen and feed them very small food rewards every so often. This could be done with a dog’s supper ration or if you don’t feed kibble, have some prepared rewards ready that are acceptable to you and your dog. It is really a training exercise for yhe long down behaviour.
3. I started out feeding the dogs early after the time change by about 45 minutes. In a few days we will move that to 30 minutes and then 45 etc. This is a good way to slowly adjust them to the new time and could be started even a week before the time change.
Dogs are extremely tuned into time – or more likely daylight. Make sure to acknowledge this in your dog, especially if she seems to be a little restless at this time of year. It is not a special holiday which can also stress dogs out, but it can affect some dogs just as much.